By Dr. Patrick H. Hannum, Norfolk Chapter, SAR
July 25th 2022 was a typical day at the Military Aviation Museum in the Pungo section of the City Virginia Beach, Virginia, until 18 campers (youth in grades 4-6) emerged from the airconditioned classroom into the late morning 90-degree heat and sun for an issue of revolutionary war equipment, drill and some instruction in open formation revolutionary era tactics. After several live fire demonstrations by the young skilled living historians, they led the motivated campers in a reenactment of the Skirmish at James’s Plantation that actually took place on February 15, 1781, only 6 miles north of the museum’s location.
The Military Aviation Museum (https://militaryaviationmuseum.org/) houses one of the world’s largest private collections of propeller-driven military aircraft. The museum focuses on military aircraft from the birth of aviation through World War II. The museum is a 501 c (3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving military history. The facility includes a working airfield with a 5,000-foot grass runway, a WW II era control tower, 3 large hangers and a maintenance hangar, housing 78 aircraft with about 62 operational aircraft at any one time. On scheduled days visitors experience various propeller driven aircraft lifting off in to the skies. However, on this day, the Sons of the American Revolution, Norfolk Chapter President, Bob Bruce, and Youth Virginia Regiment, Director, Tom Sasso, collaborated to support the museum’s 2022 summer camp program, organized by Nicole Lutz, the museum’s education coordinator.
After the classroom and field instruction the campers were issued three cornered hats, haversacks and wooden muskets and practiced the open formation tactics used by the green jacketed British/Loyalist regiment, the Queen’s Rangers, commanded by Lt Col Simcoe. The Virginia Youth Regiment dressed out in various uniforms representing the Queen’s Rangers, 81st Regiment, both Loyalist and Patriot Militia and a French and Indian War period soldier of Roger’s Rangers. Norfolk Chapter SAR living historian and VSSAR color guard member, Kimball Thompson, suited up as a 1775 soldier of the 2nd Virginia Regiment, wearing a purple hunting shirt, attire known have been used by that unit during the Battle of Great Bridge on December 9, 1775, just 10 miles from the museum. Campers asked numerous questions about the muskets, rifles, swords and equipment use by the living historians during their instruction.
The museum and airfield are located on a narrow strip high ground known as Pungo Ridge that separates the salt water of the Back Bay to the east from the fresh water of the North Landing River watershed to the west. This was a known route used by Revolutionary War Patriot Militia to move between the Albemarle Region of North Carolina and the Tidewater Region of Virginia, often to avoid detection along more traveled and well-known routes. Patriot militia from the surrounding Virginia and North Carolina counties used the extensive low ground and swamps to regroup when attacked by more capable British units, making them a lightly armed but mobile and elusive enemy, using Fabian tactics to survive to fight another day. One of the Patriot leaders, Captain Amos Weeks, has been called the “Virginia’s Swamp Fox” (https://allthingsliberty.com/2021/08/virginias-swamp-fox-captain-amos-weeks-of-princess-anne-county/).
After lunch the campers reassembled in the airconditioned classroom. Mr. Tom Sasso of the Youth Virginia Regiment (https://www.facebook.com/YouthVirginiaRegiment/) explained the unique living history focus of the organization as, “Ambassadors of 18th Century American History,” open to youth 8-18 years of age and their families. Dr. Patrick Hannum of the Norfolk Chapter, SAR, held an interactive question-and-answer session to provided closer to the campers’ Revolutionary War experience.
On Thursday, 28 July the SAR Flag certificate was presented to Ken Soohoo, United States Marine Corps Veteran, owner and pitmaster of Hammerdown BBQ at 41153 John Mosby Hwy, Aldie, VA. The certificate was presented by Ken Bonner and Barry Schwoerer from the Sgt Maj John Champe Chapter Virginia SAR. Both Bonner and Schwoerer dressed in Revolutionary War Militia clothing. The SAR Flag certificate is presented to Businesses, Government buildings or private homeowners who properly display and maintain the Flag of the United States. This means the flag is lit at night, and is replaced when soiled, torn, or otherwise becomes unserviceable. Pitmaster Soohoo proudly displays the flag on a lighted flagpole in front of his business. Photo depicts the Hammedown BBQ flagpole, sign, and L-R Barry Schwoerer, Ken Soohoo, Ken Bonner. Picture courtesy Barry Schwoerer
Presenting Colors, Cannons on the right photo courtesy Bill Ruscitella
SGT MAJ JOHN CHAMPE chapter Virginia SAR presents Colors for the Purcellville Cannons
On Sunday evening, a Color Guard team of three men from the Sgt Maj John Champe Chapter, Virginia Sons of the American Revolution presented colors at the last regular game of the season for the Purcellville, Cannons, a Collegiate summer baseball team in the Northern Division of the Valley Baseball Leaque . The Color Guard marched from the home team bullpen to a position in front of the pitcher’s mound where they faced the crowd and presented colors. After the National Anthem they marched back to the dugout. Mark Sink carried the flag of the United States, Jacob Schwoerer the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Barry Schwoerer carried the SMJC Chapter flag. As they marched to the mound, the announcer introduced them with the following announcement:
“Ladies and Gentlemen please rise and remove your hats for Presentation of Colors by the Sergeant Major John Champe Chapter, Virginia Sons of the American Revolution. The chapter was formed in February this year to serve Loudoun County. The Sons of the American Revolution is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American History, and teaching American history to future generations. All members are descendants of men or women who either served in the Revolutionary militia or Continental Army or provided material support to the fight for Independence. Loudoun County provided more militia men for the Revolution than any other Virginia County. Please remain standing for the National Anthem.”
This year’s commemoration included the dedication of special markers on the graves of the four signers of the Fairfax Resolves who are buried at Pohick Church. The Rev. Lee Massey is buried below the church pulpit (photo courtesy Brooke Shambeck).
The Fairfax Resolves Chapter held its annual commemoration of the adoption and signing of the Fairfax Resolves July 23 at Historic Pohick Episcopal Church in Lorton, Virginia. This year marked the 248th anniversary of the Resolves, which were adopted on July 18, 1774. The Fairfax Resolves were in response to the Intolerable Acts, passed by Parliament to punish Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party.
In the Resolves, the freeholders expressed a desire to remain subjects of the British Empire, but they insisted that "we will use every means which Heaven hath given us to prevent our becoming its slaves." The short document provided the following:
• a concise summary of American constitutional concerns on such issues as taxation, representation, judicial power, military matters and the colonial economy
• a proposal for the creation of a nonimportation effort to be levied against British goods
• a call for a general congress of the colonies to convene for the purpose of preserving the Americans' rights as Englishmen
• a call for the termination of the slave trade, condemning the practice as a "wicked, cruel, and unnatural"
Pohick Church was the home church of George Washington, who chaired the assembly of freeholders who adopted the resolution, and George Mason, who was the primary author.
This year’s commemoration featured appearances by “George Washington” portrayed by Sam Davis and “the Reverend Lee Massey” portrayed by Rev. Tom Costa. A proclamation signed by Fairfax Mayor David Meyer was read declaring July 18 “Fairfax Resolves Day.”
During the commemoration, the chapter dedicated special grave markers to the four signers of the Fairfax Resolves who are buried at Pohick: Charles Alexander, Dr. William Brown, Rev. Lee Massey and John West IV. The Fairfax Resolves signer markings are an initiative of the 1774 Society, which was established to educate the public about the Fairfax Resolves, mark the graves of the signers, and commemorate the 250th Anniversary in 2024.
Representatives from SAR, DAR and other lineage societies presented wreaths at the Fairfax Resolves anniversary commemoration July 23 (photo courtesy Brooke Shambeck).
Members of the Fairfax Resolves commemorated the 248th anniversary of the adoption and signing of the Fairfax Resolves in a ceremony at Historic Pohick Church in Lorton, Virginia, on July 23 (photo courtesy Brooke Shambeck).
LIFE IN THE BACK COUNTRY ON THE FRONTIER OF VIRGINIA DURING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
July 29, 30, and 31
At the Abingdon (VA) Muster Grounds
At the W Blair Keller Interpretative Center
During the Virginia Highlands Festival
Demonstrations in stations by reenactors of life in Revolutionary War days will be held at the Abingdon Muster Grounds (Virginia) July 29, 30, and 31 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. These will show the skills needed for the hard life in the Back Country.
On the grounds is the W Keller Interpretative Center, dedicated to the mustering of Overmountain Men for the journey to the Battle of King’s Mountain in October of 1780.
Participants come from the Overmountain Victory Trail Association, the Black’s Fort Chapter of the DAR, the Gen William Campbell Chapter of the SAR, and the Abingdon Muster Grounds C.A.R. Society.
On July 4, 2022, the 37th Annual Service of Prayer & Thanksgiving was conducted at Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, Virginia by The Revd Christopher L. Epperson and R. Bruce W. Laubach, President, Williamsburg Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution. Pictured are the attending members of the Williamsburg Chapter and Revd Epperson.
July 4th is National Bell Ringing Day
On July 4, 1963, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed Independence Day as National Bell Ringing Day. On Independence Day bells are to by rung 13 times to honor the 13 original colonies. On the 4th of July the Bruton Bell was rung to announce the service, at the conclusion of the service, and at 2:00pm. This year, and every year, as we celebrate our freedom let us remember those who protect our freedom: veterans, service members, firefighters, and law enforcement. Pictured is this year’s bell ringer Tom Campbell, Past President, Williamsburg Chapter, SAR.
On July 6, 2022 the Battle of Green Spring was commemorated by the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Williamsburg Chapter and the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Church on the Main, James City County, Virginia. This battle in 1781 was the largest engagement between the British and the Patriots in Virginia before the Siege of Yorktown. Pictured are the Williamsburg Chapter Color Guard, l to r, Ronald Adolphi, David Westenberger and Gary Dunaway beside the Green Spring Memorial honoring the Patriot Soldiers from Virginia and Pennsylvania buried nearby. 2nd Picture, attending members of the Williamsburg Chapter
Participants l. to r. Marc Robinson, Bill Schwetke, Dave Cook, Mike St Jacques, Paul Christensen, Thomas "Chip" Daniel, Sean Carrigan, Jim Cordes and Dale Corey (photo courtesy of Dale Corey.)
On 2 July 2022, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter conducted a ceremony to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The event was held at the Warren Heritage Society, Front Royal, Virginia. It included presentations on the 250th Anniversary of the Revolutionary War, the causes and buildup to the war, the signers of the document and a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Dale Corey as emcee opened the meeting with Reverend Jim Simmons providing an invocation. The color guard led by Marc Robinson presented the colors and compatriot Nathan Poe led the Pledge of Allegiance. Marc Robinson gave a presentation on Who are the SAR and the 250th Anniversary of the war. He was followed by Corey who told of Great Britain asking the American colonies to pay for the French and Indian War through various taxes and the lead up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The members of the color guard then read the document prior to a wreath presentations by Chip Daniel (CJWII), Dave Cook (Germany Society), Jim Cordes (Fairfax Resolves) and Bill Schwetke (Culpeper Minutemen) to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration. A musket salute was fired by a musket squad comprised of members from Colonel James Wood II, Culpeper Minutemen and Fairfax Resolves chapters. The color guard included Sean Carrigan (CJWII), Paul Christensen (CJWII), Dave Cook (FR), Jim Cordes (FR), Chip Daniel (CJWII), Marc Robinson (CJWII), Bill Schwetke (CMM) and Mike St Jacques (CJWII).
musket squad l. to r. Jim Cordes, Dave Cook, Chip Daniel, Sean Carrigan, Mike St Jacques, Bill Schwetke, Paul Christensen and Marc Robinson. (Photo courtesy of Thomas "Chip" Daniel.)
the color guard at Present Arms. (Photo courtesy of Thomas "Chip" Daniel.)
JAMES MONROE CHAPTER AND RICHARD HENRY LEE HOSTED A CELEBRATION OF THE 246TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF GWYNN’S ISLAND
Lord Dunmore’s Revenge?
On Saturday, July 9th the James Monroe Chapter and Richard Henry Lee Chapter of the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution hosted a celebration of the 246th Anniversary of the Battle of Gwynn’s Island at Morningstar Marinas in Hudgins, Virginia.
Torrential rains forced the attendees to huddle on the porch of the marina shop. Someone quipped “The downpour must be Lord Dunmore’s revenge.” With unwavering Patriotic spirit, the ceremony was conducted on the porch, and even included a cake-cutting celebration for VASSAR’s 132nd birthday.
Attendees included VASSAR President Bruce Meyer, keynote speaker Dr. Patrick Hannum, a VASSAR Color Guard contingent, , representatives from VASSAR Culpeper Minute Men, Norfolk, and Thomas Nelson, Jr. Chapters, Virginia Society Order of Founders and Patriots of America, Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution District II Director Sandi Bergman, representatives from Cricket Hill NSDAR and Cobbs Hall NSDAR, Rappahannock Chapter of US Daughters of 1812, and Mathews County Historical Society President Reed Lawson.
A short summary of the Battle of Gwynn’s Island (aka, the Battle of Cricket Hill) follows.
Lord Dunmore (John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore) was the last Royal Governor of the colony of Virginia. In the spring of 1776, he was driven out of the Governor’s Palace and repelled from Norfolk at the Battle of Great Bridge.
Lord Dunmore and his entourage of British troops, Loyalists, and slaves who were promised freedom for allegiance to Britain, sailed out of Norfolk on British ships moored in Milford Haven and set up a base of operation on Gwynn’s Island.
After six weeks of relative calm, on July 9, Patriot Brigadier General Andrew Lewis and his men opened fire with a battery of 18- and 9-pound cannon, quickly placing a dozen rounds into the hull of Dunmore’s flagship, and wounding Dunmore. The cannonade lasted about two hours.
Overnight, Lord Dunmore quietly weighed anchor and fled from Gwynn’s Island. He left behind hundreds of dead and sick slaves who been ravaged by disease including small pox.